Lawmakers in Rhode Island have passed a bill that would make it a requirement that student drivers undergo training and testing on distracted driving before they are able to receive their driver’s licenses. The bill focuses on addressing the issues of the dangers of talking on the phone and texting while driving. Representative Joseph McNamara says that new drivers must “be aware of all the dangers that come with calling, texting or just not paying attention while driving.” McNamara is the leading sponsor of the bill. Not only would Rhode Island’s driver’s ed program be updated to include the issue of distracted driving, the state’s license tests would also be changed to include content addressing distracted driving.
Distracted driving is a problem that roads across the country are plagued with. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are 13.5 million drivers using their handheld phones at any given moment. Three years ago, over 3,000 roadway deaths involved drivers who were distracted. Do you keep your cell phone on the seat next to you, or in sight while you’re driving? Maybe you should drop the habit. If you put your phone somewhere you won’t be distracted by it, say locked away in your glove compartment, you could be saving your own life or at least greatly reducing your risk of being in an accident.